ASSOCIATES (vol. 8 no. 3, March 2002) -

*My View From The Backroom*


Carol Borzyskowski
Library Associate II
Winona Public Library

Just what is my VIEW? I heard someone ask, so here goes: Facing east I see my monitor screen. Beyond that a 1950's military green file cabinet, then the entryway (on the left) to the staff bathroom and newspaper-processing table. Still looking east to left and right are floor to ceiling shelves where books waiting to be re-shelved languish, crowded in by empty and full book-carts bumping around like cats twining around one's ankles. Finally a wall containing a clock, a bulletin board and opening out on the right, to the circulation desk. Behind me, or if I turn and face west, are my desk with a bookcase on it and a wall. Note: there are no windows anywhere. The room is long and narrow, the center open to allow for the constant traffic of staff (with or without book-carts) on their way to the back door, the break room, and technical services, or into the work room--my area--(THE BACK ROOM) the bathroom and the front desk. I am safe during tornado alerts. In fact staff and patrons join me here during such alerts.

Why the long introduction? Because I want to you to all realize I do not have a "view" in the, "Isn't this a gorgeous view" way of things, so I turn inward or outward metaphorically. Which brings me to this column's topic, how happy I am to see resurgence of poetry in libraries and how ALA is (Live@Your Library!) promoting poetry. Which also reminds me that I have written several poems about the library and one about my Back Room , which is really about the bathroom, and NO, I cannot print it in the column!!!

My favorite thing about attending ALA in San Francisco last summer, were the on-going live poetry readings. "Poet's House" has partnered with ALA to bring poetry to libraries and the public. I say YES, and also say, check out their website!!: It was such fun to hear the authors read their book, and the area was packed with people listening. I was amazed and delighted at the crowds, and the number of people ordering poetry books. In fact, thrilled by just the number of new poetry books on sale. I breathed a sigh of relief, and told myself there is hope for me yet!!! Poets House presented a pre-conference seminar entitled "Poetry in the Branches" that was a day and a half training session designed to "help community libraries become centers for the discovery of poetry through a combination of programming, writing workshops for young adults, collection development, display and on-going librarian training. "(Poets House and Public Libraries: ALA Preconference:

Remember that NATIONAL POETRY MONTH is coming up! Look around, think spring, what do you see, what is your VIEW of Poetry in the Library? Notice all the new poetry books, notice the variety of people who are checking them out. Notice the publicity poetry books are getting in the book catalogs. Open your mind, delight yourself with image and metaphor!

For the past two years our library has had an evening or poetry and music in April. They were fun and pretty well attended. I organized them, and yes, I did read in them. It seems I even have a small following of fans. This year I have been invited to read at the Art Center during Women's History Month, so I haven't decided if I should attempt to organize another night of verse for the library patrons or not. Because, "So much depends on a red wheelbarrow in the rain", my apologies to William Carlos Williams.

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